It's time I faced the fact that I'm as mad as a March hare. Sadly, one of the chicks didn't make it through the first night; it happens. Dave at Mt. Aukum Feed Store said he would replace it, so I went down yesterday with that intent...and ended up buying an extra four Araucanas to keep the little one company on the way home. The count now is sixteen chicks, ten Silkies, and seven layers. All the chicks are only a few days old and much too early to sex (which has to do with gender identification and not lewd behavior), so the extra numbers are a kind of insurance in case there are cockerels in the mix. Technically speaking, I did not get purebred Araucanas, but a mongrel breed called Ameraucanas. They will lay the pastel-colored eggs and have the mutton-chop "ear" feathers of the purebreds, but have fewer breeding problems (which will not be an issue here). For me, chickens are like potato chips...I can't have just one!
For whatever reason, the last time Steve worked down in the south pasture he dropped the disks off the tractor and left them in the field where they have stayed, lo these many years. They were in the portion of the field which will be the new goat pen and would have been a sharp hazard for the girls, so Joel brought his big tractor over in the afternoon and we went down to pull out the huge double set of disks. Not so easy. The dratted ground squirrels had tunneled and burrowed and half-buried the disks, and two cotter pins sheared off while trying to free them. So it was hike back up to the barn and find a set of thick chain and hooks to have another try. Joel approached the disks from another angle, and this time was able to pull them loose while I cheered. The big mound of dirt left behind has been named Mt. Joel. Bess had trekked down and up and down the field with me, and I should have had a little flag for her to plant when she climbed the mound to flop at last on that cool earth. Thanks to Joel, that's one more job crossed off of the To-Do List.